Mississippi school's students assigned 'slave letter writing' activity, sparking outrage

Mississippi school's students assigned 'slave letter writing' activity, sparking outrage

A Mississippi school district is facing backlash after eighth grade students were assigned a “Slave Letter Writing Activity."

Eighth grade students in the state's Lamar County School District were given the assignment as part of a history class at Purvis Middle School on Wednesday, according to local station WDAM.

The assignment asked for students to imagine that they were slaves working on a plantation in Mississippi and to “write a letter to your family back in Africa or in another American state describing your life,” the news outlet reported.


The assignment reportedly followed a presentation that outlined “atrocities and negatives of slavery.”

A screenshot of the title of the assignment was circulated among the local community garnering angered and concerned responses, WDAM noted.

Lamar County School District Superintendent Steven Hampton told WDAM that the activity was assigned in an effort to "show our students just how horrible slavery was" and to help them "gain empathy for what it was like to be a slave.”

Hampton also stated that the teacher who assigned the writing activity had had a discussion with the school's administrators and that further conversation would continue with the district's administration.

“We do not discriminate against race. We want to be sensitive to what happened in the past,” Hampton said, according to WDAM.

The Hill has reached out to the Lamar County School District for comment.


A Wisconsin middle school suspended teachers last month after students were given an assignment asking them to describe how they would "punish" a slave.

School officials later apologized, calling the assignment a “grave error in judgment."